New heat and power systems pegged to save Windsor $1.1M annually
CEM has been working on the CHP Projects for the WFCU Centre and Huron Lodge in Windsor. The new cogeneration systems generate electricity and also capture byproduct thermal energy to help with heating are projected to shave $1.1 million annually from the energy bills at three of the city's biggest facilities.
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The Windsor Star, Published December 8, 2017
Huron Lodge long-term care home, the WFCU Centre and the Windsor International Aquatic and Training Centre have either recently had the systems installed — each costing around $3 million — or are just about to. Resembling a shipping container located outside the buildings, they are called combined heat and power systems, and they’re ideally suited to places like these, said Sergio Grando, the city’s manager of energy initiatives.
“It’s certainly an excellent use of this technology, because this technology works best when you have a reasonable amount of heat requirement in the building,” he said.
In the case of the WFCU Centre and the aquatic centre, there’s lots of space to heat, plus swimming pools and water attractions with large volumes of water that must be kept warm. At Huron Lodge, large volumes of water have to be heated for bathing and cooking and the thermostat is set pretty high to keep residents comfortable.
“All of this lowers operating cost,” Grando said of the projects, coming online in December at Huron Lodge and the WFCU Centre. Bids were still being analyzed for the aquatic centre, with the expectation the system will start operating there in March or April. He said with electricity costs rising dramatically in recent years, the co-generation systems increasingly make financial sense.
Using natural gas as the fuel, a highly efficient generator produces electricity and the byproduct — thermal energy — is captured to heat the building and water. In the case of the aquatic centre, the system will provide 5.9 million kilowatt hours of the 7.7 million used (and costing $1.14 million) in 2016. It will also take care of 70 per cent of the heating demands for the building, which in 2016 cost $219,000.
The projected annual savings for electricity and heat totals about $500,000, said Grando, whose job is to chip away at the city’s energy consumption, which in 2016 cost $18.4 million for electricity, water, natural gas and heat generated by the downtown district energy system. In recent years, the city has also mounted rooftop solar systems on the WFCU Centre, the aquatic centre and the Transit Windsor headquarters.
The estimated $3.1-million cost of the aquatic centre co-generation system will be partly offset by $1.1 million in provincial incentives tied to climate change initiatives. Similar grants helped pay for the systems at the WFCU Centre and Huron Lodge.
“Anything we can do to wear our green hat to reduce energy consumption and hence create operational savings is essentially what we do,” Grando said.
At the WFCU Centre, which recently opened its new pool, the new system will save more than $400,000 a year in heating and electricity costs. The Huron Lodge system will save a little more than $200,000.
“Not every facility is a candidate for this,” he added. But the city is continuing to look at other buildings that may benefit, including South Windsor Recreation Complex (recently renamed Capri Pizzeria Recreation Complex), Adie Knox Herman Recreation Complex (which has an ice rink and a pool), and Forest Glade Arena.